Oregon firm recalls berries; suits filed; codes corrected - The Packer

Oregon firm recalls berries; suits filed; codes corrected

06/04/2013 01:28:00 PM
Coral Beach

June 6 the FDA reported it was “finalizing a protocol to test berries for the Hepatitis A virus, and will be testing samples related to the outbreak, including the frozen blend.” The FDA announced May 31 it had begun inspecting and investigating the Townsend operation.

Unusual hepatitis A strain

The CDC reports the strain of hepatitis A linked to the Townsend product is identical to one linked to outbreaks in Europe and Canada.

“This genotype was identified in a 2013 outbreak in Europe linked to frozen berries and another 2012 outbreak in British Columbia related to a frozen berry blend with pomegranate seeds from Egypt,” according to the CDC report.

“Preliminary laboratory studies suggest the outbreak strain of hepatitis A virus is genotype 1B. This strain is rarely seen in the Americas but circulates in the North Africa and Middle East regions.”

The CDC is encouraging anyone who ate the Townsend Organic Anti-Oxidant Blend within the past two weeks to check with their doctors to determine if they should get a hepatitis A vaccine because it can be effective for up to two weeks after exposure. Symptoms may take 50 days to manifest.

Legal action pending

Three lawsuits related to the outbreak have already been filed against Townsend Farms Inc. in Superior Courts in California in Orange County, San Diego County and Los Angeles County.

The Seattle-based Marler Clark law firm filed to form a class action suit for all people who were exposed to the Townsend Farms product and received a vaccine or immune globulin dose as a precaution. Attorney Bill Marler said he believes there are about 25,000 people who fit the proposed class description and should be reimbursed for the shots.

The other suit filed by Marler Clark, as well as one filed by Houston law firm Simon & Luke, involve personal damages for people infected with hepatitis A.

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USA  |  June, 08, 2013 at 09:54 AM

From the web.:http://xrl.us/bo8fpw "Prior to the lawsuits, Costco had already begun notifying customers to discard the product, despite Townsend Farms’ refusal to acknowledge the link between the frozen berry mix and Hepatitis A illnesses. That process is still not complete. Ron Simon, counsel for Ms. Wilson, issued the following statement today: “Costco and Townsend Farms’ delay in notifying customers that their berries contained human feces is inexcusable. Our lawsuits will get to the bottom of that delay so it does not happen again.” Townsend Farms delayed the recall even though Costco and the FDA told the public to discard the product. Shame on the Townsends. It appears that while people were getting ill, they were concerned with their bottom line more than anyone or anything else. Not being able to trust what we know to be good for you (blueberries, raspberries, etc ) they could put the health of entire berry industry and berry category at risk.

USA  |  June, 11, 2013 at 11:31 AM

Please do not judge the whole industry from one shippers Irresponsibility & harm. The rest of us who truly care what we are feeding to families take absolute care in planting, growing, harvesting, packaging and selling to retailers for families trying to eat healthy. This is a very sad situation that does not appear to have been handled well.

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